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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Arizona Muslim woman running for Senate is told, "We hate your filthy death cult"

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017   No comments
A Muslim attorney hoping to unseat Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has been deluged with threats after posting a patriotic message on her Facebook page.

Deedra Abboud, a Phoenix attorney who’s running as a Democrat in the Senate race, has endured vitriol since announcing her campaign in the spring, but her recent post on religious tolerance prompted a wave of threatening messages, reported The Republic.
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Social media users attacked Abboud and made violent threats, some of which were printed in the newspaper.

“Nice try but your first love is Satan (AKA Allah) and your second love is to a litter box your ‘people’ come from,” said S. Jason Parr. “You are as American as Chinese checkers.”

“BAN ISLAM IN THE USA…WE HATE YOUR FILTHY DEATH CULT,” posted Chris Ruen.

“I bet you’ll be a BLAST with constituents,” wrote Tony Madden. source

Abboud, an attorney and community activist, says she’ll handle the cringe-worthy comments like she would any bully who confronted her on the political playground.
“We haven’t dealt with this really hateful rhetoric,” Abboud said. “We as a society never dealt with it, and we’ve been operating under a bogus bullying theory that if you ignore the bullies, they’ll go away.”
Abboud isn’t ignoring it, but she’s not letting it get to her either: “You’re going to win a match against a bully when you stay strong.” Source

Abboud, born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and who converted to Islam 19 years ago, is asked to go back... to somewhere. Michael Scozzari wrote “Vote to send them back to the sand pit, were (sic) these scumbag people belong!”
 
The attacks came in reaction to a post about her support for the separation of church and state:
 "Almost 250 years ago a group of dreamers came together and sketched out a revolutionary vision. No longer would they be shackled to the whims of a distant government, nor bound to the religion of an idiosyncratic king. They set out to forge their own futures, determine their own destinies, and follow their own faith. In their infinite wisdom, the Founding Fathers decreed that this nation would separate church and state, and in doing so protect both institutions. Government would be free from religious overreach, and religion would be free from government interference."

 




Friday, July 14, 2017

President Macron: France is no longer insisting on the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad from power

    Friday, July 14, 2017   No comments

ISR comment: 
For the second time in a month, the French president reiterated his policy shift towards Syria. The emphatic statement, while bringing hope that the new approach will end the bloodshed, it confirms France's reckless policy in Syria for the past seven years. Indeed, Without France's (and its allies) insistence that Assad is removed, the war could not have lasted this long and 300,000 Syrians did not have to lose their lives.  This shift is an admission of failure and complicity in a war that should not have happened. Indeed, peaceful transition to representative rule could have been realized without the bloodshed. Now that goal may never be realized given that Syria is destroyed and its people will be focused on reconstruction, not on genuine political reform.
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The News:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Google Academics Inc., financial support for academics and policy experts to influence public opinion in favor of Google

    Thursday, July 13, 2017   No comments
Campaign for Accountability (CfA) released a new report, Google Academics Inc., revealing Google’s extensive financial support for academics and policy experts.  CfA identified 329 research papers published between 2005 and 2017 on public policy matters of interest to Google that were in some way funded by the company.

CfA Executive Director, Daniel Stevens, said, “Google uses its immense wealth and power to attempt to influence policy makers at every level. At a minimum, regulators should be aware that the allegedly independent legal and academic work on which they rely has been brought to them by Google.”

Google Academics Inc. examines the contours of Google’s academic influence machine.  For instance, the report reveals that the number of Google-funded studies spiked during periods when its business model was under threat from regulators and when opportunities arose to push for new regulations on its competitors.

Google-funded studies are published by a wide variety of sources, and often blur the line between academic research and paid advocacy.  Reports funded by the company have been authored by academics and economists hailing from some of the nation’s leading law schools and universities, including Stanford, Harvard and MIT, as well as some of the most prestigious universities in Europe, including Oxford, Edinburgh, and the Berlin School of Economics.




Read the report here.

Iranian cancer researcher detained at Boston airport despite valid visa

    Thursday, July 13, 2017   No comments
An Iranian cancer researcher traveling to the US on a valid visa has been detained at Boston Logan international airport with his wife and three children, two weeks after Donald Trump’s revised travel ban came into force.

Mohsen Dehnavi was traveling to the US to work as a visiting scholar at Boston children’s hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. But when he arrived on Monday afternoon, he was not allowed to enter the country and may now be sent home along with his family, according to a friend who was due to pick them up from the airport.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Trump just ended a long tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House

    Sunday, June 25, 2017   No comments
In the early days of December 1805, a handful of prominent politicians received formal invitations to join President Thomas Jefferson for a White House dinner.

Such entreaties were not uncommon: Jefferson frequently hosted lawmakers for political working dinners at the White House, almost always commencing them about 3:30 in the afternoon, shortly after the House or Senate had adjourned for the day.

But this gathering, scheduled for Dec. 9, would be slightly different.

"dinner will be on the table precisely at sun-set - " the invitations read. "The favour of an answer is asked."

The occasion was the presence of a Tunisian envoy to the United States, Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, who had arrived in the country just the week before, in the midst of America's ongoing conflict with what were then known as the Barbary States.

And the reason for the dinner's later-than-usual start was Mellimelli's observance of Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims in which observers fast between dawn and dusk. Only after sunset do Muslims break their fast with a meal, referred to as an iftar.

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For the first time in nearly two decades, Ramadan has come and gone without the White House recognizing it with an iftar or Eid celebration, as had taken place each year under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. In recent weeks, several former White House staff members told The Post they would usually begin planning an iftar "months in advance" and didn't anticipate the Trump White House could pull something off before the end of Ramadan.

White House officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Late Saturday afternoon, the White House released a short statement from President Trump and the first lady recognizing the holiday.

"Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity," the statement read. "Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbors and breaking bread with people from all walks of life. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values. Eid Mubarak."

In late May, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly said the State Department would break with recent tradition and not host a Ramadan reception, as it had done nearly annually for two decades. On Saturday morning, Tillerson also released a brief statement sending "best wishes to all Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr."

"This holiday marks the culmination of Ramadan, a month in which many experience meaning and inspiration in acts of fasting, prayer, and charity," Tillerson said in the statement. "This day offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared commitment to building peaceful and prosperous communities. Eid Mubarak."

Tillerson's and Trump's brief remarks were in stark contrast to Obama, who released a lengthy statement for the holiday last year, as well as to ceremonies hosted at the White House for the last 20 years. source

Thursday, June 22, 2017

President Emmanuel Macron Reverses France's Syria Policy: No legitimate successor to Assad

    Thursday, June 22, 2017   No comments
ISR comment: 
For six years, France's policy was one that prioritized the ouster of the Syrian president over all other goals. The French government offered the obscure groups calling themselves "Syrian Opposition" all forms of support, labeling it, the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. After more than 300,000 Syrians died and nearly 5,000,000 were displaced, the French government shifts its Syria policy: the priority is now to fight terrorism and to preserve the institutions of a functioning Syrian government. Too little, too late.
The News:
President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and France no longer considered his departure a pre-condition to resolving the six-year-old conflict.

He said Assad was an enemy of the Syrian people, but not of France and that Paris' priority was fighting terrorist groups and ensuring Syria did not become a failed state.

His comments were in stark contrast to those of the previous French administration and echo Moscow's stance that there is no viable alternative to Assad.

"The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar al-Assad's departure is a pre-condition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor," Macron said in an interview with eight European newspapers.

"My lines are clear: Firstly, a complete fight against all the terrorist groups. They are our enemies," he said, adding attacks that killed 230 people in France had come from the region. "We need everybody's cooperation, especially Russia, to eradicate them."Source


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Facts and Biases: "Mass shootings are terrorism when perpetrated by Muslims"

    Sunday, June 18, 2017   No comments
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Legally and morally, we see intent as the best way to distinguish terrorism from mass murder. Federal law defines terrorism as certain violent acts “that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government.”

But because Hodgkinson is dead and did not declare an aim to dethrone the House majority to which his victims belong, we can only speculate about his motives. Like so many other killers in recent years, it’s impossible to know what his specific goals were, because he didn’t tell anyone. We know that these people intended to commit murder, but not why. And if we assume we know — as in the case of Syed Rizwan Farook in San Bernadino or Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson — it’s probably because of our preexisting stereotypes or our partisanship. Mass killings look the most like terrorism when their perpetrators seem the most alien from the Judeo-Christian, white majority. That’s no way to judge a crime. We need a new way to classify these attacks.
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This discrepancy poses two dangers. First, the assumption that mass shootings are terrorism when perpetrated by Muslims but not by others may lead law enforcement and the public to overlook threats posed by non-Muslims. For instance, civil rights lawyer and former FBI agent Mike German, who infiltrated white supremacist groups, has argued that the domestic threat posed by right-wing extremist groups is as great as, if not greater than, that posed by Arab or Muslim terrorists, and yet has been largely ignored by the FBI. A report by the Government Accountability Office tallied 106 killings perpetrated by right-wing extremists in the United States from Sept. 12, 2001, to the end of 2016, more or less equal to the 119 by Muslim extremists in that time. While the exact number in each category may change slightly depending on how we classify individual attacks, the point is that there’s close to parity in the danger posed by each group.

Second, it’s possible that law enforcement and other decision-makers will acknowledge and respond to this singular focus on Muslims by overcompensating in the opposite manner so as to appear nondiscriminatory. The Fort Hood shooter, for example, had repeatedly drawn complaints from fellow soldiers for appearing to justify terrorist attacks against Americans in the Middle East. The FBI was even aware that Hasan had been in email contact with al-Qaeda provocateur Anwar al-Awlaki. It is one thing to avoid racial or religious stereotyping but another to ignore red flags for fear of being perceived as bigoted, as appears to be the case with Hasan. Yet this tension is inherent in stereotype-based law enforcement.

One first step toward resolving the question of “what is terrorism?” — at least in the colloquial sense — is to stop focusing so much on the perpetrator’s perceived intent and to look more at the effects of the violent act. Today, attackers such as Hodgkinson, Hasan, Rizwan, Malik, Loughner and Roof have one thing clearly in common: Even if it’s not clear why, they want to kill as many people as possible. That should be enough to call them all terrorists.

source
James T. Hodgkinson, the man who shot five people at a Republican baseball practice Wednesday, including a member of Congress, harbored ill will toward President Trump and the GOP. So was Hodgkinson a terrorist?

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